Training is something that many digital marketing agencies overlook. They focus on hiring the right people, then simply assume that everything else will get figured out along the way.
This particularly goes for agencies that can focus exclusively on their output, being eager to impress clients.
In truth, of course, making a long-term commitment to training is extremely practical, and something that the biggest brands in the world are excellent at doing. But what types of training should you choose? How can you make best use of your time and resources?
Well, if you’re going to invest in one training area for your entire agency, it should be digital skills — and that investment should be something that you continue in perpetuity, making training a core part of your ongoing agency operation. Unsure? Allow me to explain why.
Clients expect to see continued improvement
Succeeding as an agency means carefully maintaining strong client relationships: maximizing the perceived value of everything you do, shining a light on all your great work, and placing any mistakes or obstacles in proper context.
The longer you can retain a client, the more valuable that client will become. They’re likely to pay considerably more, be less demanding, and provide you with the enthusiastic referrals that are so important for agency growth.
But much is expected from those to whom much is given, so those loyal clients will have higher standards for your work: they’ll want to see improvement across the board, both to ensure that you get better results and to clearly demonstrate that you’re not content to rest on your laurels. Companies that don’t put effort into getting better will produce bad work sooner or later.
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It’s more affordable than ever before
It’s considerably easier to commit to an investment when it isn’t going to break the bank, and that’s very relevant here since digital training doesn’t need to be expensive today.
Instead of opting for offline courses with costly training materials and conferences with the accompanying travel expenses, you can invest in online courses — many of which are cheap or free through sites like Google Digital Garage.
There are also so many ways for trainees to pursue the training areas that most interest them, all without costing you anything more than some time and research.
Podcasts, for instance, are immensely informative and can be enjoyed while doing other things: anyone who wants to stay apprised of developments in digital marketing can choose a suitable marketing podcast (such as Marketing Speak), let their phone populate with the latest episodes, and listen at their leisure.
You will need to put aside some time for training, of course, but the average agency will see its client hours fluctuate somewhat on a regular basis, so particular employees — or entire teams — should have at least a handful of free hours each month. Allow them to use that time for training and you won’t lose anything of consequence.
Personal development is a desired perk in digital agencies
Employees in flourishing industries (and the digital industry continues to flourish, even in the midst of a pandemic) have more options than ever before, and it’s emboldening them to look past their salaries and place more emphasis on workplace perks — particularly now that remote working has been accepted throughout the world as a viable operational model (client comms can be handled at a distance, with occasional meetings arranged at coworking spaces).
Due to this, many professionals want to be supported in developing their skills: not just for their employers, but also for themselves. They want to make themselves more valuable as agency workers and have more options for the digital projects they pursue in their free time.
Giving them training resources is a win-win: they become more productive and get what they want.
The digital world moves quickly
Perhaps most importantly, it’s vital to continually invest in digital training because skill stagnation is a major problem.
You can be at the top of your game one moment, relax for just a month or two, and suddenly discover that several tools for agencies have been replaced, a new social media network is dominating, and Google has released a major search update.
This affects almost all modern business types, agencies included. Companies aren’t typically eager to replace their long-standing agency connections, but — as noted earlier — they won’t hesitate to take action if they conclude that they’re no longer paying for industry-leading expertise. There’s no shortage of agencies out there, regardless of the specific variety.
Accordingly, it isn’t just the novices on your team who need to work on their skills: it’s everyone in your agency. You can be sure that your chief rivals are consistently looking for new ways to achieve their digital marketing goals, for instance, or make their internal communications more efficient — and if you don’t keep up, your clients will choose to go elsewhere.
In this post, we’ve been through the core reasons why you should make a strong commitment to investing in digital training. If you haven’t been making digital training a priority, now is the time to address that mistake.